BOOK REVIEW: THE BODY LIBRARY – JEFF NOON

I received an e-ARC of The Body Library by Jeff Noon via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Angry Robot Books for this opportunity.

Jeff Noon returns with a staggering hallucinogenic sequel to A Man of Shadows, taking hapless investigator John Nyquist into a city where reality is contaminated by the imagination of its citizens.

In a city dissolving into an infected sprawl of ideas, where words come to life and reality is contaminated by stories, John Nyquist wakes up in a room with a dead body… The dead man’s impossible whispers plunge him into a murder investigation like no other. Clues point him deeper into an unfolding story infesting its participants as reality blurs between place and genre.

Only one man can hope to put it all back together into some kind of order, enough that lives can be saved… That man is Nyquist, and he is lost.

I had previously read the first book in the John Nyquist series, A Man of Shadows also as an e-ARC from NetGalley and honestly that book messed with my head so much I just had to request the second book. This series is a mixed-genre of thriller, and fantasy; the protagonist – John Nyquist – is a private investigator but lives in the kind of world where different time zones occur in one city; ones for businessmen, lovers, those who hate the dark, those who hate the light; and now in The Body Library, where people are essentially trapped in a book.

I particularly like the way Noon builds his stories. You have no idea what could possibly by the cause of the strange goings on until he is literally about to tell you – they’re simply so abstract I don’t know how he thinks it up. Noon begins his stories with a chapter introducing the reader to the strange occurrences so immediately they are met with mystery and the desire to keep turning the pages to find out the significance.

Unlike the first book, this one focuses less on Nyquist’s flaws and past and more on his present self. Because of this I found the book much more captivating and interesting than the first. In terms of character development this meant the protagonist could move away from his past and into a more relatable present; that being said the story does tend to focus much more on the story itself rather than the character, so I never really felt like I bonded with the character a great deal. 

The writing style was good and he story kept a good pace meaning the reader wouldn’t lose interest, and the story is well tied together. I definitely wasn’t as confused throughout book 2 as I was throughout book 1.

Overall I’m awarding this book 4*/5; I would recommend this to you if you enjoyed the first John Nyquist book, but also if you enjoy a mix of fantasy and mystery/ thriller. I would’ve liked the know John better so I felt more of a connection to the protagonist, but I liked that the author had moved on from John’s past to his present.

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